Jesus Did It!
On August 6, 2009, I felt impressed of the Holy Spirit to take one of the two boxes of REAL LIFE STORIES that someone anonymously paid for, down to the Red Zone yesterday in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Forty copies of REAL LIFE STORIES to be deposited in the dead center of the current highest crime area of the city. I like to think of those 40 copies as '40 special forces soldiers' being dropped behind enemy lines to help do the work of God.
Here are a few highlights of this delightful mission:
My first encounter: I parked my car in front of a house where there were a couple of dozen people outside on the porch. I loaded up my paper sack with handles to carry my 'soldiers', and walked across the street to the house. I observed there was no drinking alcohol that I could see, and I was a bit curious as to why there were so many people on the porch.
Upon making friendly communication '- sharing that I was giving away a free book of encouraging Christian testimonies to anyone interested in having a copy, one lady immediately said she would like to have a copy. Then another wanted one ' and another ' and another ' and ...
I believe about a dozen copies were deposited with that group of people initially, most of them being female. Most of the males didn't seem interested at the time ' typical (my experience has been that women 2:1 show more interest in the book thus far, but then I'm just a tin-horn rookie at this, so that ratio may change in time).
I then asked if they were having a family get-to-gather, or what? I was informed that a 55 year old lady of the family had passed away, and they had just come back from the funeral. I offered my condolences, and another gal piped up: 'No need to feel sorry for her. She's in glory with the Lord! This is celebration time for her!'
Several of the women agreed with her, but still most of the men; mostly younger men, remained silent, faces somber.
Something kicked in, and I began to share: 'You know ' a precious friend of mine, Harold Hall, shared something with me a couple of years ago that I had never heard before. He said, 'You know, the human race is standing in one long line, each waiting for there appointment with God. Thus in one sense, life is just standing in this one long line, waiting for our appointment ' and we ALL have an appointment coming with God.' Your friend who just passed into eternity has now had her appointment with the Creator, we can assume. She went to the head of the line in front of us, which is sometimes the way it works. You imply she knew the Lord, so she's smiling huge, right?'
'Right!' came back a reply from the first gal I gave a book to, as she thumbed through it.
'We often forget we all have an appointment with God. When that time happens ' we better have the RIGHT answers to any questions He asks us, RIGHT?'
A few of the ladies agreed with me. Now here is what is so cool! Three guys, probably in their mid-20's, almost simultaneously asked: 'Can I have a copy of that book too?'
'You sure CAN!'
Then three or four other guys, older, asked for a copy too! Holy Spirit was having a ball!
I didn't make it down the street very far before walking up to a couple of ladies sitting on their porch. Both asked for a copy. But one sitting closest to me began to share that she was a believer, but has had many struggles. I felt impressed to prod a bit, and after a bit of time, she opened up to me and said that although she had been a believer for many years, she STILL was not able to forgive herself for all the things she had once done. I asked her if she believed that God could forgive her for what she had done, and she stated that she wasn't sure, but even if He could, she STILL couldn't forgive herself.
When you observe a soldier of Jesus Christ locked inside a self-imposed prison of their own making, and their not even realizing they had locked themselves in that self-imposed prison, you can't just walk away ' leaving them in that prison of torment. Thus I asked her if she would allow me to show her HOW to obtain the key to unlock the prison door and slam it shut behind her and NEVER step back into that cruel, self-imposed prison again.
She seemed confused at first, but then I kept clinging tightly to the Holy Spirit to give me just the right words to say to her. She is not very knowledgeable of scripture, which made it a bit more difficult for me to quote her scripture that she was familiar with, though I gave her sufficient truth to plant and water at this prison stronghold she had built around her.
Then I began to ask her more personal questions. I asked her if she had addictions she couldn't break of one kind or another. She told me she had some. I told her that when we don't forgive ourselves from things we have done, confess them to God as 1 John 1:9 says we can and MUST do to receive His forgiveness, then trust the matter is settled FOREVER with God ... therein lies the power we give the devil to hold us in bondage to addictions of various kinds ' never mind how it robs us of our joy with God, and can greatly hinder our prayer lives as well as our desire to feed on God's Word (these TOO being cruel deadly side-affects of not forgiving ourselves - God - others).
I asked her if she had ever asked God to help her forgive herself, and she said that she had, but every time she did that, she still FELT she wasn't forgiven. Then I gave her some instruction in how Satan will make us puppets of his delight when we allow him to base our beliefs upon 'feelings' that run contrary to the Truth of God's Word. That caught her attention greatly.
After sharing many other things that can happen in our relationship with God when we don't forgive God (as though God needs forgiven, which is NEVER the case truthfully, but nevertheless, when we believe God has wronged us, then we need desperately to forgive Him for our own good) ' forgive others ' and forgive OURSELVES ' we are setting ourselves up for one life-long miserable relationship with God. Furthermore, I asked her if she was familiar with the passage in the Bible where Jesus clearly states that if we don't forgive, our heavenly Father will not forgive us. She wasn't.
I then dumped a real heavy and sobering 'reality bomb' in her lap. 'Are you aware, sister, that after all the time you've been a Christian, that God may NOT have forgiven any of your sins that you've asked Him to forgive, simply because you've REFUSED to forgive yourself ' though you been in the dark about it all this time?'
That was the knockout blow to Satan when I shared that with her. Her eyes got big, and she began to cry. It was now time to take the rifle off safety and start firing bullets at the demons who had to be enraged in anger.
'Sister ' you can step out of your self-imposed prison this very moment if you would like. It's up to you. I would be willing to pray for you, if you would like, and you can begin to experience joy in your relationship with Jesus unlike you've every experienced before. All you have to do is take a huge step of faith and believe God will use me in prayer to help you experience that. Would you like to be set free?'
The tears rolled harder and she said that she was ready. I asked her to simply repeat after me while she gave me permission to lay a hand on her shoulder. Then the Holy Spirit guided me in having her declare that she NOW forgives herself for all the wrong she had done in the past, and that by faith, she would trust God that He not only DESIRED to forgive her right then and there, but that she was now forgiven, whether she 'felt' forgiven or not.
Afterwards, I encouraged her to read her Bible more, asking God to show her in His Word where His 'contract to humanity' clearly states that He forgives ALL sin ' not just some ' and we are the wisest people on this planet when we forgive ourselves for the sin we have committed, and really ' the most unwise people on this planet are those who refuse to forgive God ' refuse to forgive others ' refuse to forgive ourselves - when the Cross gave us the right to do so.
God did something very special for her and she'll never be the same, thank you Jesus! She just got released from a prison cell she wasn't even aware she was in.
I walked upon another porch where a brother about 50 - 55 years of age was sitting, smoking a cigar. He gladly wanted a book. (He ended up giving me $5 to buy a couple MORE copies of the book by the time I left!). He shared a couple of things, and I asked him if I could sit down and join him a moment, because my feet and legs were hurting a little. He encouraged me to sit. After a bit of gentle prodding, he began to share that he had been addicted to crack for years, and God delivered him of it. He had spent time in prison for his addiction, but had been set free now for years. He shared he drank some beer and smoked a lot of pot and he knew he shouldn't be doing that, but he seemed confident that God 'Isn't done working with me yet.' I was quick to share the same about myself!
I listened to a great deal of his testimony, finding it very refreshing and edifying. He is a precious brother in Christ, to say the least. Then an older gentleman walked up and I was introduced to him. I was told that this older brother's wife was in intensive care, suffering from a stroke, and things didn't look good. He was caring a heavy load, it was quite obvious. The brother who had finished his cigar by now asked me, 'Would you mind praying for his wife? She sure could use prayer.'
I checked in with the Holy Spirit. I heard Him respond very clearly, thank you Holy Spirit. 'Ask them to pray a prayer of agreement with you, and I want you to BELIEVE that I'm going to answer the prayer you pray. I'm giving you faith to believe, so pray confidently.'
Wow! If you've ever been fortunate enough to hear such a thing from the Holy Spirit at a time like that ' well ' it's as though you are standing in front of Jesus, and He's commanding: 'Pray for a miracle and EXPECT to get positive results!' Kind of like telling Peter, 'Step out of the boat, soldier, and leave your life-jacket and cell phone to call 911 behind!'
As I felt impressed to pray: 'Father ' she belongs to You, and if it's her time to step into glory, then let it happen quickly without much pain for her and her family. But if it's not her time, then heal her quickly and completely. Let this instant healing be one more chapter to add to her testimony, and let it result in the salvation of many others ' using her miraculous healing to glorify You in ways we simply can't imagine right now.' The two other brothers agreed, and it was time for me to move on. I KNEW God responded to our prayer. Another battle won for Jesus!
I stepped onto another porch. A couple of older ladies gladly wanted a copy of the book. A little girl, exactly four years old, stepped out of the house with about seven dollar bills pinned on the front of her dress. She told me it was her birthday. I asked her if she was having a good birthday. She shyly acknowledged that she was. I asked her if anyone had sung her the 'Happy Birthday song.' She said that it had been sung. She was beaming with happiness and had that cute innocent look of a four year old child loving the attention I was giving her. Inside, I was wondering HOW I might make her birthday even MORE special, and within a second the impulse was to say to her:
'How would you like a special birthday present from Jesus? Would you like that?'
She looked up at me ' bright-eyed ' and exclaimed: 'Yeah!'
I handed her a copy of the book. 'I know you're a little young yet to be able to read this, but I'll bet your mom will read it to you, won't you Mom?' Mom smiled and assured me she would.
I handed the book to the little darling and she handled it like it was a million dollar bill. It's worth that and much MORE!
It was time to keep moving and as I stepped down off the porch, the mother said, 'Mister ' let's sing the song to her again. That would be special to her.'
And ' I led the other two women in the 'Happy Birthday Song' to little Sarah, proving just how much God has not gifted me with the ability to sing all that well, but LOUD? Yes! The whole neighborhood got to hear us sing. Little Sarah hopefully will never forget her fourth birthday. I won't.
My bag was getting near empty of REAL LIFE STORIES. I began to focus solely on giving books to teenage boys and girls cruising the sidewalks. I've learned it can be a bit more challenging to give books away to younger people cruising the sidewalks, but if they are out on a porch, they are more receptive. I'm sure it's because of the 'embarrassment factor.'
One teenage boy about 15 years old came walking by. I asked him if he would like a copy of the book. "He answered quickly and firmly, "No. I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God." Then he turned around a started to walk in the direction he was headed. Drats. Rejection. Those can be the tough ones.
But then before thinking, I said to him, "I used to be nearly an Atheist for about 35 years myself. And then I was going to commit suicide, and God made Himself real to me and spared me from taking my life, and now I'm down here trying to help others find peace with God."
He stopped dead in his tracks - turned sharply around - walked back to me, and snapped, "Give me a copy of that book!" I handed him a copy; he did a quick 180, and continued on walking. Front line Holy Ghost engagement. I did some determined intercession for his lost soul as I continued on my way to whoever the next person was to be.
Thirty six books were gone. I had four left to deposit in the Red Zone. Then I met Robbin. After going a bit in dept with her as to WHY I was handing out books in the Red Zone, she insisted I talk to her sister on her cell phone. Her sister is the Pastor of a church on the corner about 100 yards from where we were sitting. I'll be meeting this Pastor in due season; we'll see what God might have in store.
But Robbin Quinn also insisted I meet a sister-in-law, just around the corner. I met the sister-in-law, Eileen Alexander. Eileen was a crack addict 8 years ago. Prostitution to maintain her addiction came lot and parcel with the addiction ' usually the two going hand in hand. In prison, she hit bottom, and told God she couldn't make it on the outside anymore without His help. She couldn't break the addiction without His help. When she stepped out of prison, power to say 'NO!' to temptation to do crack and give her body away was with her. It's not only remained with her since then ' she is now being used of the Lord to help other women addicted to crack to get off it through the help of Jesus. It was obvious to me I was speaking with a 'Navy Seal for Jesus.'
She ended up getting the remaining 8 copies of REAL LIFE STORIES ' to be given out to the gals she's ministering to. She may get MORE copies from the second box of 40 books someone enabled us to have for the Red Zone ' we'll see what the Holy Spirit has to say about it down the road.
Furthermore, I suspect we'll be sitting up a time for us to put a camera on her, and perhaps Robbin as well. We'll tape their testimonies and put them up on the Precious Testimonies website for God to take their stories around the world.
A brother was painting Eileen's house. He and a friend stuck up conversation with me. The brother doing the painting was hitting on Robbin to be his wife. You could smell beer on his breath; a little loosed tongued. Robbin told him he would have to put Jesus FIRST above any woman before he was marriage material for her! He told her he wasn't ready to do that quite yet. Robbin said she wasn't wife material for him yet EITHER! I applauded her stance. I struck up lengthily conversation with him after that, encouraging him to put Jesus first in his life. I spent nearly an hour depositing spiritual seed inside him. The other guy stood nearby, the whole time, never saying one word, yet taking every word in.
Forty REAL LIFE soldiers in written form got dropped behind enemy lines yesterday for Commander Jesus in the Red Zone. Whoever you are that made that possible to happen, I trust this puts a smile on your face and a burning glow of joy in your spirit. It sure did me; a bunch of angels no doubt ' and more than likely the sweetheart who recently had her appointment with God.
JESUS DID IT! - or - JESUS DID IT!
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